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Current Projects

The following list provides information on research projects currently underway at Rutgers Center for State Health Policy. To help you navigate, projects are classified by focus area and include the project name, funder, a brief description, and a link if you would like to request additional information.

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Population Health

  • The Impact of COVID-19-Related School Closures on Children's Weight Status

    National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD/NIH)

    Almost 30 million children receive meals daily through federal school lunch and breakfast programs, and these meals provide up to 50% of children’s daily nutritional needs. Mandatory closure of public schools necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic threatens access to healthy meals for low-income children and is likely to contribute to excess weight gain and associated health problems. Critical to preparedness to respond to future disasters and to assure the adequacy of the food safety net, this study addresses the impact of school closures on weight status and investigates the potential of emergency, child-targeted food assistance programs to mitigate adverse effects. Building on an eight-year research collaboration with four NJ school districts serving predominantly low-income populations, the study follows a cohort of 120 public schools, collecting nurse-measured heights and weights data on students supplemented by a survey of the school’s food and physical activity environment, geo-coded data on the environment around schools, and distribution of emergency meals and Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) benefits for out-of-school children.

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  • New Jersey Population Health Cohort Study Planning Grant

    Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

    New Jersey is the second wealthiest state yet it ranks 40th in income equality and has striking health disparities. To address these gaps and disparities, granular data are required, collected over time, to understand personal, family, community, and environmental factors that determine health outcomes and wellbeing. Under this 12-month planning and design grant, led by the Institute for Health and CSHP, investigators from across Rutgers are collaborating to design the NJ Population Cohort Study. When fully implemented, the Cohort study will establish a sustainable research infrastructure to evaluate planned interventions, evolving policies, and unanticipated developments on population health and well-being in NJ. The Cohort study will combine data from detailed surveys, biomarkers, actigraphy, and linked and community-level secondary data to support rich, informative population health research. In addition to a statewide representative sample, the Cohort will include special samples of groups of new immigrants and other at-risk populations.

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  • Health Care Hotspotting: The Effect of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers Super-Utilizer Model on Utilization Outcomes in the Medicaid Population

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (with support from NIH)

    Early work by the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers (CCHP) showed promise for improving care and reducing avoidable costs for patients with complex health conditions who were frequent users of hospital services. In collaboration with CCHP, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) conducted a randomized clinical trial (RCT) of the Coalition’s Care Management Intervention program. Disappointingly, the RCT showed no impact of the intervention on 180-day hospital readmission rates and related outcomes. However, because of data limitations the RCT could not look at emergency department outcomes and was limited in its time horizon. In this project CSHP investigators are working with MIT to link NJ Medicaid utilization and spending administrative records to RCT data to expand the study’s outcomes and timeframe among Medicaid-enrolled patients.

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  • Implementation of the Integrated Population Health Data Project (iPHD)

    New Jersey Department of Health

    Governmental program data often exist in “silos” and are under-utilized in program evaluation and policy development analysis. To address this gap, in 2016, the NJ legislature enacted the Integrated Population Health Data Project (iPHD) to establish a process to integrate health and other data from publicly supported programs for population health research for the purpose of improving: 1) the health, safety, security, and well-being of New Jersey residents, and 2) the cost-efficiency of state government assistance programs. The legislation designated CSHP as the operating entity of the iPHD, reporting to a Governing Board comprising representatives of state agencies and members of the public with relevant expertise. This award is supporting the start-up of iPHD operations.

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  • Evaluation for the New Jersey In-Home Asthma Intervention Pilot Project

    New Jersey Department of Health

    Families with children who visit hospitals often for uncontrolled asthma may face challenges in mitigating household asthma triggers or managing their child’s medications. With funding from The Nicholson Foundation, the New Jersey In-Home Asthma Intervention Pilot Project helps families address triggers and manage their children’s conditions effectively. Center investigators will use NJ Medicaid claims and program data to evaluate the impact of this evidence-based intervention on Medicaid hospital utilization and spending.

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  • Examining Obesity Declines among School Children: The Role of Changes in the Food and Physical Activity Environments

    National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI/NIH)

    While overall obesity rates remain high in the U.S., there have been promising reports of declines among specific subgroups across the country. Yet, little is known about the causes of such declines. This project will provide critical evidence for developing tailored community and school interventions for reducing the burden of childhood obesity. The research is prospectively following 120 schools (30,000 students/year) in four NJ cities (Newark, Trenton, Camden, and New Brunswick) over an eight-year period. The project is identifying features of the food and physical activity (PA) environments within each school and in the surrounding communities that predict sustained obesity declines among the study schools, and exploring whether these predictors differ by race/ethnicity, age, and gender of students. The project combines nurse-measured heights, weights, and demographic data on students collected at four time points; data on changes in the food and PA environment within schools reported in school nurse surveys; and linked information on food and PA environments surrounding schools.

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  • Health Care Delivery and Care Transitions for Underserved Cancer Patients

    American Cancer Society

    Primary care can play vital roles in identifying, managing and referring underserved patients with cancer to improve guideline concordant care. This study, part of an early-stage faculty career development award, is examining primary care capacity and processes that may impact transitions from primary care to specialty oncology care among Medicaid patients with breast (BC) or colorectal cancers (CRC). Using NJ Medicaid enrollment/claims data linked with NJ State Cancer Registry data for BC and CRC patients diagnosed in 2011–2016 and qualitative information collected from primary care practices, the study is informing the development of system-based interventions to improve care transitions among underserved cancer patients.

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There are no current projects for this focus area at this time.